Zone Envy

Zone Envy

Now is the time of year where the hardcore gardeners in the northern part of the U.S. start suffering. The brain is ready for the start of the gardening season but the weather has something else to say about it… at least in Chicago’s Zone 5. I’m no different and, actually, this year is worse than usual… I try to wait until January 15 to start perusing the seed catalogs but this year I succumbed in December… now, just a few weeks later, I’m exceptionally impatient to get digging for real. No dice in Chicago… however, due to my work schedule, I happen to be in Seattle for a few weeks which is a much friendlier Zone 8 who’s frost date is (don’t be jealous Zone 5) March 1.

IMG_0364I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and pulled on my waterproof boots to check out one of the amazing Seattle P-Patch gardens: The Interbay.

I wasn’t the only person braving the weather to get a dose of garden. A volunteer was re-digging the 15-year old water system and adding new hose bibs for different corners of the garden. Others were rebuilding beds or inspecting hoop houses. And we all seemed to be quite happy despite the cold winds.

One good thing about a garden in winter is you notice some of the features that are obscured by the lushness at other times of the year… The Interbay P-Patch does a great job educating and guiding the visitor through the garden. I love the “street signs”… the Interbay is 40,000+ square feet so some guidance is a good thing.

signs

Other features that were fun to see were the artistic elements different gardeners use to embellish their plots. I really liked the boxwood balls. And you can’t see it very well in the photo on the left but there are roses planted on either side of the trellis. I bet this is beautiful in the summer.

art

The herbs sure fare well in Zone 8 compared to Zone 5. This rosemary bush was blooming happy lavender flowers. And, yes, strawberries are a fruit but they’re often included in herb gardens so it seemed fitting to batch them with the lush rosemary and thyme.

herbs

There were multiple structures employed to extend the growing season… the wonky view to the left is a homemade cold frame constructed with a discarded window.

structures

There were lots of hard working plants braving the “winter”… The kale made me smile – especially the beautiful purple version!

kale

Finally I HAD TO see what chard was doing in the garden due to my strong opinion that it should be the winner the One Seed Chicago contest… sadly I didn’t find a lot of chard – just one patch of struggling white chard. It was still pretty – as was a lone radicchio…

chard

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